Rhagoletis fruit flies are strongly attracted to relatively large yellow surfaces that act as leaf mimics. Our objective was to determine whether apple maggot, Rhagoletis pomonella (Walsh), and cherry fruit fly, R. cingulata (Loew), (Diptera: Tephritidae) are more attracted to small yellow deposits than other colors, and whether contrast with the background modifies the response to deposit color. The experimental setup consisted of Petri dish arenas with sucrose deposits on the inside surface of the cover or the bottom. Female flies were introduced individually into the arena, and flies were either observed for 5 min or until they touched the sucrose with their labellum. Initially, translucent-colored deposits were produced by drawing a colored dot outside the cover of the same size as a sucrose deposit placed inside. In later trials, sucrose deposits contained pigment and wax emulsion and were opaque. More apple maggot flies found translucent yellow deposits than black, red or clear. When opaque deposits were used, there were no differences in the numbers of apple maggot flies that found deposits of different colors, but more cherry fruit flies found yellow than white, pink or blue deposits. Contrast cues were produced by depositing colored sucrose on the bottom of the Petri dish and placing the dish on a white or black background. More apple maggot and cherry fruit flies found yellow deposits than black or white, but the number of flies of both species that found a deposit strongly contrasting with the background was not significantly different from those finding the yellow deposit. We conclude that apple maggot and cherry fruit fly find small yellow deposits, or colors strongly contrasting with the background, more often than other colors, and that the response to color cue varies in different species.
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Vol. 45 • No. 2